The Importance Of Sociodramatic Play In Young Children

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As babies progress into infancy/childhood, they engage in different types of play. Smilanksy (1968) promoted the importance of sociodramatic play. This refers to pretend play, typically occurring from age 2 onwards, that involves scripts in order to act out social roles that children have knowledge of e.g. doctors and patients. Children begin to imitate adult roles and start to follow scripts. Howes and Matheson (1992) state that adults have a scaffolding role, whereby they demonstrate actions to children, supporting their play. For example, mothers may pretend to feed a doll then hand the doll to their child. Thus, the majority of pretend play in younger children relies on imitation and schema. Sociodramatic play can help children with cooperation as it is collaborative. Harris (2000) found that sociodramatic play is important in theory of mind as children view situations from many perspectives, such as when playing a teacher in a class of pupils. Further to this, Taylor and Carlson (1997) found an association between high theory of mind scores and ability to pretend play. However, correlation does not determine a cause and effect relationship therefore, other variables could influence the results like intelligence.
Sociodramatic play has been shown to extend a child’s language skills. Smilanksy observed Israeli immigrants in preschools. Findings illustrated that not only did they exhibit less sociodramatic play but they were also late in language and cognitive skills.

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